Spain vs Portugal: Which country is better to move to?

Spain vs Portugal: Which country is better to move to?

Last Updated on June 24, 2023 by Akwaowo Akpan

Spain vs Portugal Which country is better to move to? Are you thinking about moving to Spain or Portugal. Do you want to find out which country has lower taxes, a lower cost of living, and more variety in culture and scenery. Read on to learn all the important information you need. Should you move to Cádiz or Lisbon, Spain or Portugal. Here are some things to think about.

Deciding whether to move to Spain vs Portugal is mainly up to your personal choices, like what kind of places you like, which language you would like to learn, and what kind of food you enjoy. But there are some things that can make living in a place harder than others, like taxes, visas, and how much it costs to live there. Which of these two countries in the Iberian Peninsula (with Andorra) is better for people moving there – Spain vs Portugal. Read on to find out all the important information.

Study in Spain vs Portugal?

Portugal gets three times as many students through the Erasmus program compared to other countries. Europe sends more exchange students than it receives. This probably means that students like Portugal and want to go there. Portuguese universities are as good as other universities in Europe. If you take an English course, you will learn similar things as in Germany with the same difficulty, but the campus may not be as fancy. Portuguese universities charge a fee of about 100 dollars per month (or 1000 euros per year).
Living in this place is cheaper than any other place in western Europe.

Education in Spain has been around since a long time ago, since the Middle Ages. The most respected universities with a long history offer classes and programs to students from around the world and in their own community. Spanish schools are just as good as other schools in Europe. In Spain, there are universities that are owned by the government and others that are owned by individuals or businesses. Spain has 76 universities: 45 owned by the government and 31 owned by private people. Public Spanish universities usually charge students around 2,000 to 3,500 Euros every year.

Studying in Spain can be difficult because you have to pay for each class you take. This means that you may have to pay more if you need to withdraw and take the same program again. This doesn’t occur in other countries in the European Union. Swedish Universities only charge tuition fees one time. For instance, if you dropped out of a class you signed up for or did not pass a specific subject. You can take the exam up to four times to see if you can pass it.

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Taxes Portugal vs Spain

The tax rules are different in Spain and Portugal. Depending on your situation, you might have to pay more or less tax in either country. When you compare the tax brackets for 2022 in Spain and Portugal, it looks like Spain is better for people who earn less or more money because the taxes are lower than in Portugal, where they are a bit higher.

In Portugal the general income tax rates for 2022 are:

28.5 percent for those earning €15,217 – €19,696
35 percent for those earning €19,676 – €25,076
37 percent for those earning €25,076 – €36,757
43.5 percent for those earning €36,758 – €48,033

While in Spain the tax rates for 2022 are:

24 percent for those earning €12,450–€20,200
30 percent for those earning €20,200–€35,200
37 percent for those earning €35,200–€60,000
45 percent for those earning €60,000–€300,000

But if you want to work for yourself, Spain may not be the best option for you. If you work for yourself, you must pay for social security in addition to your income tax in Spain and Portugal.

The Portuguese Social Security takes 21. 4% of your earnings and you pay it every month. In Spain, people have to give at least 30. 60 percent of their money.
Right now, you have to pay €294 every month regardless of how much you make.

In Portugal, people who are not permanent residents can get extra benefits through the NHR scheme. New residents can get special tax benefits for 10 years when they come to live here. Portugal has a low income tax rate of 20% for people who work in important jobs there. They also let you earn some money from other countries without paying taxes on it.

People from other countries can use Portugal’s NHR program if they meet the requirements of being a tax resident in Portugal and haven’t paid taxes in Portugal for the past five years.

Spain doesn’t have a program for people from other countries that is like this one.

Golden visa

If you’re not from Europe and want to live in Spain or Portugal, you can get residency by making a big investment.

By investing €280,000 in one or more properties before 2022, you may be able to become a resident of Portugal.
This is one of the cheapest ways to become a resident in Europe. The rules for getting a golden visa in the country got stricter on January 1st. You need to either: buy a property worth €500,000, or invest €350,000 in a project that will fix up a building. There are also some limits on where you can buy.

This means that Portugal and Spain have the same requirement for investment, which is €500,000. Both countries have other ways to invest money and become a resident, like buying or donating shares and bonds.

In Portugal, you can become a citizen in 5 years, but in Spain, you have to wait for 10 years before you can apply for citizenship.

Digital nomad visa

Spain will give digital nomad visas next year but they still have to figure out everything. Meanwhile, Portugal already has a D7 visa for digital nomads.

To qualify, you need to show that you make at least €8,424 every year. However, you have a better chance of getting the visa if you earn more than that. You need to keep at least €7,500 in a bank account in Portugal.

Spain has a special visa called Non Lucrative Visa (NLV), but it is more expensive than Portugal’s D7 visa. With NLV, you cannot work. To get this visa in 2022, you must show that you made at least €27,792 for the whole year.

Cost of living

Living expenses in Spain and Portugal are different depending on where you decide to live. Some websites that compare prices say that living in Portugal costs a little less than living in Spain. However, other websites say that the cost of living is almost the same in both countries.

Living expenses in Madrid are seven percent more expensive than in Lisbon. Currently, Barcelona is 10 percent more expensive than Lisbon.

It usually costs around €970 each month to rent a furnished apartment that’s 85 m2 (900 sqft) big in Lisbon. If you want to rent an apartment that’s the same size in Barcelona, it costs an average of €1,040 each month.

Food prices are a bit more expensive in Spain when eating at restaurants or buying groceries, compared to Portugal. Energy prices in Portugal were typically higher than in Spain, but now both countries have very expensive energy costs because of high inflation.

In Spain, the southern and western areas are usually less expensive than Madrid and the north. In Portugal, the cheaper areas are usually in the central and northern regions. Living expenses are cheaper in small towns in both countries if you avoid big cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon.

Madrid has more bars per person than any other place in the world, even though Lisbon is also known for having a fun nightlife and good places to stay.

Labor market

Portugal pays less money than Spain. Getting a job in Portugal is hard because there are many people looking for jobs. However, Spain’s economy is better and they have jobs that pay more.

Skills in Demand Spain vs Portugal

In Spain, many people want jobs and it’s hard to get one. People from other countries usually go to big cities where it’s easier to find work. Expats like to go to big cities in Spain like Madrid and Barcelona, and also to Valencia and Seville.

There aren’t enough people to work as doctors, engineers, marketers, operating staff, and business consultants in Spain.

In Portugal, anyone can work in customer service no matter how old they are or what their background is. Sales is a job that many people in Portugal want right now. Many companies from different countries have offices in Portugal, so there are many job opportunities in sales for people who don’t speak Portuguese. The growth of technology jobs is important to know about when looking at job opportunities in Portugal. Many companies in Portugal need people to help them with their technology and they are offering to pay these workers more than usual.

Foreigners who work in Portugal will mainly find jobs in farming, fishing, and tourism that are only available during certain times of the year. These will be the most popular jobs in Portugal for foreigners up to 2023. There are many jobs that are needed, like people who teach English, work on computers, design and build things, help sick people, and deal with laws.

Big International Companies

Spain is also home to a number of large international companies. So, These include:

  • Abengoa (telecommunications)
  • Abertis (infrastructure)
  • ACS Group (civil engineering)
  • Almirall (pharmaceuticals)
  • Banco Santander (banking)
  • Ebro Foods (food processing)
  • Ficosa (automobile production)
  • Iberdrola (utilities)
  • Inditex (apparel)
  • Logista (logistics)
  • Telefónica (telecommunications)

While, Portugal has also big companies like:

  • Volkswagen Autoeuropa (automotive assembly plant)
  • OGMA – Aeronautical Industry of Portugal
  • Hovione (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization)
  • Farfetch (online luxury fashion retail platform)
  • PSA Peugeot Citroën (automotive assembly plant)

Lifestyle and culture

Both Spanish and Portuguese people are nice and relaxed. However, in some places, Portuguese people tend to be more quiet and reserved than the Spanish.

Portuguese people are often sadder than Spanish people who are more happy-go-lucky and passionate. You can see this in their music and how they celebrate festivals. Portugal celebrates some events like Easter and Carnival, but they aren’t as exciting as Spain’s festivals, which include Las Fallas, human towers in Catalonia, crazy Canary carnival, and Semana Santa parades in southern Spain.

Spain has more cultural variety than Portugal. Portugal’s regions have some different cultures, but they are not as noticeable as Spain’s 17 regions. Spain has five different languages spoken by people in different regions and each of them has their own way of cooking, celebrating festivals and dancing which is unique and varies a lot compared to others.

Spain has 49 places that are very special and important in the world, called UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Portugal only has 17 of those places. Portugal has two big cities, Lisbon and Porto, which have lots of museums and cultural events. But in Spain, there are more places with culture than just Madrid and Barcelona. Valencia, Seville, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Málaga, and Granada are also famous for their excellent museums and cultural attractions.

Nature and landscapes

Spain and Portugal are good places for people who enjoy being outside and doing activities like walking, biking, and water sports.

Spain has more different kinds of scenery than Portugal. Spain has a lot of beaches, mountains, and parks.

Spain has 16 big parks that are for everyone to visit, but Portugal only has one park for this purpose. If you like winter sports, Spain has more places where you can go skiing or do other activities compared to Portugal. Spain has many ski resorts in the Pyrenees and the northern part of the country, and also one in the Sierra Nevada. However, Portugal only has one place where you can do winter sports.

Bottom Line: Portugal or Spain

To finish comparing Portugal and Spain, some people think they are alike, but if you look more closely, they are not.

Portugal has less people and is better for expats than Spain. Portugal is better than Spain because it has cheaper living, nice places to live, lots of things to do, and good weather all year.

But everyone has their own thoughts and feelings about both countries.

Hopefully, the article “Spain vs Portugal: Which country is better for moving. ” has helped you make a better decision about your future.


  • Akwaowo Akpan

    Hi there, welcome to Online Studying Services. As a fan of authentic information and a student, I devise this means to offer reliable information to international students wishing to either study abroad or online. Thanks for stopping by!

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